Daily D – Luke 1:76-79
“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
LUKE 1:76-79 (NLT)
We had limited rain for about three years. It was quite a dry spell. Lakes and rivers were drying up. One community to the west of us saw their city lake completely disappear.
Then one day it started raining. In two weeks’ time, it had rained so much that every lake, river, and stream, every pond in the fields was full to overflowing.
Read Luke 1 beginning with verse 5. It is a story about an older man, an older woman, an angel, and a baby. Zechariah and Elizabeth were childless. They were likely in their forties. Priests retired at age fifty and became mentors and instructors to their younger proteges.
Couples who are unable to conceive naturally after two decades of marriage are most likely not going to have children. For a couple in a culture that found significant purpose in carrying on their family lines, this was deeply disappointing.
Zechariah was carrying out his priestly duty as part of his rotation when he had an encounter with Gabriel (v. 19). This is the same angel who paid a visit to Mary (1:28) with the news about Jesus.
Zechariah, a man of faith and duty, hesitated.
“How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years,” (verse 18).
Gabriel tells Zechariah in verse 19 that he would be unable to speak until the baby was born due to his doubt.
Three years of drought. Nine months without speaking. Is there a little similarity here?
The skies opened and the words showered down upon everyone when Elizabeth gave birth to John and, eight days later, he was circumcised and named. The man long silent now suddenly spoke. Verses 68-79 are his prophecy from God about John’s special future.
Zechariah had been preparing for this day for months. He had been thinking these thoughts, pondering all Gabriel had said to him. He had leaned into the glory of what this meant.
John would prepare the way for the Messiah. God’s tender mercies would awaken the world to a new day with light from heaven “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace,” (verses 77 and 78).
Those conditions, darkness and the shadow of death, sound a lot like 2020, don’t they? Don’t miss the last line, Zechariah’s famous last words: “and to guide us to the path of peace.”
There is a pathway forward this Christmas. A better day is coming. There is light for our darkening world. May every Christmas light and candle remind you of this truth.
I will follow God’s path of peace into his glorious light.
Our Father, lead us through and out of this season of darkness and death. Lead us into your new day of light and life. Guide us down your path of peace. Amen.
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Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.